A top Orange exec has said that the recently announced merger with T-Mobile will give the new network a "huge advantage" in bidding for the iPhone, as well as other high-end handsets.

Apple's iPhone is currently offered exclusively through O2 in the UK, but recent reports have suggested that this deal is soon to end, with both Orange and T-Mobile previously tipped to offer the touchscreen device.

Tom Alexander, Orange's chief executive, who will head the two-company merger, told The Telegraph: "We've got a fantastic platform and are obviously the network of choice for all multimedia devices, including potential (sic) the iPhone in future".

Meanwhile, Gervais Pellissier, FD of Orange's parent company France Telecom, said: "We [France Telecom and T-Mobile’s parent Deutsche Telekom] are both very good partners of Apple in our domestic markets and [the joint venture means] we have a very good chance to be a strong partner here in the UK".